Documenting life during the first attempt at restoring a vintage motorcycle.

Similar to the zen -like feeling that is realized through surfing,
motorcycle repair can elevate the mind to a meditative state that eludes time and space...
Meaning I obsess over it, get frustrated, yell, laugh at myself and overall waste a lot of time.


I need a vacation...

The hours are grinding me down... sitting, starring, typing, clicking, more starring, more sitting, more typing, wearing a tie, florescent lights.... The list could go on forever. I dream of escape. Warm weather and cold beer. Good waves and lazy days. I can almost taste it... Soon enough.


Age is Just a number... the number 82

82 Year old Ted Fenwick & race partner Geoff Shaw

This article was published a couple weeks ago in the York Press, UK (no, I don't subscribe to the York Press) However I thought it was note worthy, since it shatters my previous perception of the elderly and their "motor-skills"... Especially on a high powered bike.
Ted Fenwick is an 82 year old grandfather from York who smoked the competitors on his 250cc Ducati (mostly all a quarter of his age) in The Isle of Man TT fortnight race, one of the biggest events in the sport. He has been racing for over 58 years and doesn't plan on retiring any time soon. While most octogenarians are simply happy to actually wake up in the morning, Ted's adrenaline rush doesn't come from the bingo table. "I'll keep racing as long as I keep getting up in the morning."
I love how his number is 82... I wonder if he'll get 83 next year? Hey Pfizer, I think you need to drop Bob Dole's Viagra sponsorship for this guy.

Teddy, laying down some rubber at the race
Ted Fenwick in 1960


Where Motorcycles go when they die...

This Moto graveyard is in some abandoned building in Lockport, New York. I can only dream about the hidden treasures buried in that pile of rusted glory. I guess I know where to look for spare parts if I'm ever on the East Coast. (Photos from Chris Seward's photostream)


New mellon saver - Goldfinger would be jealous

I finally picked up a new helmet_ Open-face, disco-dome with a Gold-Flake finish that would make Auric Goldfinger giddy. After 2 months of hopeless bidding on eBay for a vintage Fulmer, I decided I should just buy a new one... that looks vintage. Plus I take comfort in knowing that it won't be heavily lined with 30 years of some biker dude's head sweat, dandruff, generations of lice, bear grease, mustache oil and smelling like old fashion musk. I was shocked (well kinda) to see bids up to $400 for a few in good condition. Although I might get my jaw ripped off if I ever find myself body surfing the pavement; the old open-face, bubble-shield style helmets bring me back to an era that... well, I was never a part of, or even born in, but still feel like I have some kind of distant, stalker-ish relationship with. Plus my Pops had one exactly like it back in the day (when he actually wore a helmet).

Brazilian Kick-Flip "HiiiiiYAAAAAAH" - First in surfing history?

Whaaaa?!? So a while back Volcom had a surf contest awarding $10,000 to the first person (with proof) to successfully land a kickflip (a staple skateboard maneuver). I remember seeing several video attempts, but no one had won and after a while I lost interest. Just the thought of all those fins spinning between my legs doesn't sound like something fun to learn, maybe that's why it never gained much popularity. Stumbled upon this video while trolling the runamuckvisuals website.
Brazilian Ricardo Wendhousen landing (not very clean though) a kickflip... All that Jiu Jitsu probably helps with the fancy foot-work. Well done lad.


Underwater Base Jumping

Free Fall is a incredible, artistic little film about freediving, shot by Julie Gautier of world champion freediver Guillaume Néry. Check them out as they "base jump" off underwater cliffs like the shot above into Dean’s Blue Hole (no parachute necessary). Even Julie, an accomplished diver herself, filmed the whole thing while holding her breath as well. I just realized I was holding my breath while I watched... stupid.


It starts tomorrow - The Beautiful Game _Guest Article

My sister (a certifiable genius/prodigy) happens to be obsessed with Futbol (soccer for you yanks), almost to the point of being a clinical problem. So since the World Cup starts tomorrow, she has generously blessed the Oil & Water Blog with a guest article regarding the World Cup, global futbol happenings and her predictions. Thank you Natasha. Please enjoy.

It starts tomorrow. The event for which, 31 days ago I broke out my coloured pens and crayons to create a special calendar. At the time I was officially declaring a 32-day countdown (one day for each participating country), when in reality my internal countdown had begun little less than four years ago, the minute the 2006 final ended. If you don’t know what I’m talking about (I should really slap your face off of your face if only because I don’t have time to explain sixty plus years of glorious history), the World Cup starts tomorrow; the time when my heart begins to beat to the rhythm of “ole, ole ole ole”, the moment when the Beautiful Game takes center stage, when the gaze of millions will be directed towards South Africa. For as much as I enjoy the game (and by enjoy I mean adore, obsess over, cry about, curse at, think about constantly and just plain f*cking love) I hate to talk about it. I dread social events where I’ll inevitably encounter the generic “so how about those *insert team name here*” or “who do you think will win *insert major tournament here*”. Don’t get me wrong, I love having an in-depth conversation about coaching techniques, transfer rumors, starting formations and the remarkably stupid tessera del tifoso with someone who knows what they’re talking about. The problem is the majority of people I’ve come face to face with don’t know what they’re talking about and don’t take this game as seriously as I do, and as someone much more qualified and interesting as myself once said, “some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” I digress; my point is, on this rare occasion I will share with you my thoughts and predictions (and blame it all on a pre-tournament delusional high). My team is Argentina, la Albiceleste. That means that without a doubt I think they’ll win (warning: this kind of blind faith is reserved only for the footballing faithful). I love this team, from the golden wonder-boy that is Leo Messi, to the towering midfield and experienced back-line, all the way to the crazy, coke-addled, diet-pill popping, legend of his time whom we adoringly refer to as El Pibe de Oro, Maradona himself (see Diego’s promise to run around Buenos Aires naked if they win the title). With that said, I do have some brief thoughts on some select participants:

Let’s start with España. Recently they seem to be everyone’s favorite, everyone’s “oh, I’ve loved them for years” team. And while I don’t doubt the power of this amazing team [it’s hard to deny the strength of a team in which more than half the players come from either Real Madrid or FC Barça (the latter of which broke about every record and won about thirty-seven million trophies last season)], they have yet to prove themselves when it counts.

If France deserves any mention it’s to say they are one of the only seven countries to have ever won the final; I’ll leave it at that because their coach is a real “sac-de-douche” and didn’t select Mexès, whom I believe to be one of the best defenders in the world right now.

As far as Portugal goes, I admit I haven’t seen them play much recently, but if C. Ronaldo can translate whatever freak talent he seems to posses to the national team they should do just fine (and any country that beautiful deserves to have the trophy at least once).

A country that seems to have forced their name into conversations about potential finalists is Côte d’Ivoire. This will be their second foray into the tournament; one forgettable 2006 group stage performance past being World Cup virgins. With the likes of Kalou, Eboué, both Tourés and Drogba they could easily be the team that surprises everyone this year (given Didier recovers from his broken arm in time).

Next we move north to a rainy little island known as England, the birthplace of modern-day football. Riddled with scandal and intrigue recently (if only they were Italian and it didn’t really matter who slept with whose baby mama), they seem to have pulled it together and become a sort-of powerhouse lately in European football (let’s just hope it doesn’t come down to penalties).

Germany, Deutschland, National Mannschaft… one of my favourites. All German stereotypes seem to apply here, precision, strength, discipline, heartless murde- (okay, maybe not all stereotypes). However, with the recent injury to Ballack, the captain and backbone of the team, it might prove difficult for the boys to find a new leader to take them all the way.

Cameroon, I feel their nickname fits them well… Les Lions Indomptables. They seem to always pop up and fight for a place; and, this year could prove to be their year. Also, who doesn’t love a team whose controversies involve sleeveless jerseys and one-piece uniforms?

There’s not much for me to say about Italia, the reigning champions, because, for me at least, whenever I picture the team I see them sitting around the locker-room, smoking their Nazionali cigarettes and sipping their espressos (I also cannot bear the thought of not seeing my beloved Totti step onto the pitch this time around).

At this point I just say “them”… just that, nothing else, for as an Argentine fan there is us and there is them (they know who they are).

That’s it, a quick glimpse into my mind. I must say that it is still anyone’s game; to get all this way is a feat in itself and I can’t wait for the beautiful sound of the first whistle. There’s not much more insight I can provide that pundits haven’t already been talking about for months. There are no secrets, no back-alley whisperings or insider tips I’m savvy to. I only have hope, hope that the footballing gods will answer my prayers and forsake the millions of others. Saint Di Stefano, Saints Batistuta and Artime, I leave it in your hands…


Pieces of The Pie - Gettin Weird with Wires

This is actually just 1 page of 20 or so from the shop manual for the bike. Although I have been electrocuted more times than say, I don't know, Ben Franklin during his storm kite-flying days, I am by no means qualified to do any sort of electrical engineering work. I have the burn scars to prove it. Now, this is a simple bike, as far as motorcycles go... ignition, lights, signals, horn. How difficult can it be to wire the damn thing up and get her going? Well as I slowly turn my gaze from the black & white, 70's wiring diagram to peer inside the oil-stained cardboard box filled with a tangled rat's nest of wires, the sound of crickets echoes inside my vast and cavernous head.

I can only imagine routing the blue wire accidentally to the yellow terminal and somehow the motorcycle becomes self aware, assembles itself into a giant laser shooting robot and rampages the poor beach community of Venice. The smell of burnt hippies would be palpable for miles. This weekend I will attempt to not build a robot and see if I can actually make some progress on this thing. Whats the worst that can happen?


The Bummer of Summer - Lake Pacific

June 1, 2010 - It is officially summer... according to me. I am well aware that the Summer Solstice is not until the 21st, the water temp is barely above freezing-my-ass-off-cold and the "gloom" will soon be creeping up to sit on our coast and block our beloved cancer lamp in the sky. Whatever. I'm still excited. Being partially solar powered, summer is what I look forward to all year. More of a state of mind than a mere tilting of the earth's axis toward the sun.

However, the reality of having a full time job bursts my seasonal bubble (no 3-month perma-sunburned vacation). The horror of spending 8-hours in a windowless dungeon while I imagine a city-wide bikini keg party BBQ going on outside starts to trickle in. The only solace I can find in this travesty will stem from the fact that summer sucks for surfing... No waves, crowded line-up, the influx of dangerous Stand-Up-Paddle kooks or Sea Janitors as they don't like to be called, hipsters on longboards and inner-city kids swimming in their clothes on the inside (sorry for the insensitive stereotype). Please don't mistake my cynicism as spewing pent up vitriolic hate, I'm merely stating the obvious inconveniences that come along with the joy of this time of year (like the small but painful zit on the inside corner of summer's nose).
But this year, my secret weapon against the depression-inducing lack of swell (just in case the whole El Nino thing doesn't work out), is to drink heavil... I mean finish the motorcycle rebuild. The long hours of daylight and (hopefully) pleasant weather will equate to more hours spent wrenching.